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March 13, 2019

American Bar Association announces finalists for 2019 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2019 —The American Bar Association today announced the 19 finalists for the 2019 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts, which recognize outstanding work that fosters the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system. This is the ABA’s highest honor in recognition of this purpose. 

“Among so many excellent entries, the ABA Gavel Awards Screening Committee had a very challenging assignment to select these finalists,” said Stephen C. Edds, chair of the Standing Committee on Gavel Awards. “We are pleased to recognize these finalists and look forward to choosing awardees among an already select group.”

The winners will be announced on May 15. No more than one Silver Gavel is presented in each category. Honorable Mentions are also awarded, but awards are not presented in every category every year.

The ABA Gavel Awards Screening Committee, composed of 48 lawyer-members of the ABA, selected the 19 finalists from 164 entries received in all eligible categories, which include books, commentaries, documentaries, drama and literature, magazines, multimedia, newspapers, radio and television.

Selection criteria include: how the entry addresses the Silver Gavel Awards’ purpose and objectives; educational value of legal information; impact on, or outreach to, the public; thoroughness and accuracy in presentation of issues; creativity and originality in approach to subject matter and effectiveness of presentation; and demonstrated technical skill in the entry’s production.

The ABA has presented these awards each year since 1958. The 18-member ABA Standing Committee on Gavel Awards makes the final award decisions. ABA President Bob Carlson will present Silver Gavels and Honorable Mentions on July 16 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. 

To learn more about the Silver Gavel Awards, go to

The following is a complete list of finalists with links to their work:


“Civilizing Torture: An American Tradition”
W. Fitzhugh Brundage, author
Harvard University Press

“Metamorphosis: How to Transform Punishment in America”
Robert A. Ferguson, author
Yale University Press

“Prosecuting the President: How Special Prosecutors Hold Presidents Accountable and Protect the Rule of Law”
Andrew Coan, author
Oxford University Press

“The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind”
Justin Driver, author
Penguin Random House/Pantheon Books

“We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights”
Adam Winkler, author
W.W. Norton/Liveright Publishing

“The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote”
Elaine Weiss, author
Penguin Random House/Viking


“Dark Money”
American Documentary/POV and PBS Distribution
Big Sky Film Productions with Big Mouth Productions and Meerket Media Collaborative
Kimberly Reed, director, writer and producer
Katy Chevigny, producer
Jay Arthur Sterrenberg, writer and editor
Justine Nagan and Chris White,
executive producers, POV

“I Am Evidence”
Shelved, LLC for HBO Documentary Films
Trish Adlesic, co-director and producer
Mariska Hargitay, producer
Geeta Gandbhir, co-director and supervising editor

Magnolia Pictures, Participant Media and CNN Films
Betsy West, director and producer
Julie Cohen, director and producer


“A Culture of No”
The Investigative Fund with Virginia Quarterly Review
Justine van der Leun, reporter
Darren Ankrom, researcher
Esther Kaplan, editor, The Investigative Fund
Paul Reyes, editor, VQR

“Sign Here to Lose Everything”
Zachary Mider, reporter
Zeke Faux, reporter
David Ingold, data analyst
Demetrios Pogkas, data analyst


“Taking Cover: How Cops Escape Discipline for Shootings in Suburban Chicago”
Better Government Association and WBEZ
Jared Rutecki and Casey Toner, investigative reporters
Patrick Smith, reporter, WBEZ
Patrick Judge, web and graphics editor


“Denied Justice”
Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Brandon Stahl, reporter
Jennifer Bjorhus, reporter
Karen Lundegaard, online editor
MaryJo Webster, data editor
Renee Jones Schneider, photo journalist

“Protecting the Shield”
Asbury Park Press
Paul D’Ambrosio, investigations director
Andrew Ford, Kala Kachmar, Susanne Cervenka, Alex Gecan, Ken Serrano,
staff writers


“Serial Season 3, Episode 1: A Bar Fight Walks into the Justice Center”
Serial Podcast
Julie Snyder, executive producer
Sarah Koenig, host and reporter
Emmanuel Dzotsi, reporter
Ben Calhoun, producer
Ira Glass, editor
“Civics 101: Midterm Edition Series”
New Hampshire Public Radio
Erika Janik, executive producer
Hannah McCarthy, co-host, producer
Nick Capodice, co-host, producer, and education outreach producer


“Drawing the Line”
CBS Sunday Morning
Mo Rocca, correspondent
Dustin Stephens, producer
Chad Cardin, editor
Ed Givnish, editor
Rand Morrison, executive producer

“100 Years—One Woman’s Fight for Justice”
American Documentary for WORLD Channel/America ReFramed
Melinda Janko, director and producer
Michelle Ohayon, producer
Lekha Singh, Alan Blomquist and
Dea Shandera-Hunter, executive producers
Carmen Vicencio, series producer

“Power of Attorneys”
CBS This Morning “What’s Working”
Mark Strassman, national correspondent
Larry Elardo, coordinating producer
Miles Doran, producer

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement on line. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews